Day 38: A pain in the aaaaaaaaa…..rm (Monday 5 December)

Ha! Bet you didn’t think I was going to say arm, did you? 😉 Yes, well my PICC line is blocked again and this morning the nurses couldn’t budge either of the pipes leading into the line. There was talk of pulling the line out altogether, which I was not so keen on because when I had it put in in Perth I was told that it should function for six months. Plus of course without the line I would be subject to constant canulation which my poor old veins are no longer ripe for. I reluctantly agreed to have a canula put in today which should last 5-7 days and should therefore see me through the rest of the P53 and DCT. But I came a cropper today when it was time for KLT – the pain!!!!!!!!! All the way from the canula in my hand up to my shoulder. Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!!!! I asked for the doctor to be called in to see if the canula was put in properly or if there was another problem but I guess they thought I was being a weakling – I got no doctor’s visit just notice that “other patients get this pain too” from KLT via a canula and I just needed to bear it. Grrrreeeeaaaaaat.

I had some trouble getting to sleep last night but I got there in the end after applying some Nurofen gel and having Brad rub the sore spot on my back for a while. Even better was that I only woke up once during the night. But the weird thing was the feeling that I had when I did wake in the middle of the night. I felt like I was floating after awaking from not one, but two dreams. The first dream was set in a summer seaside holiday with Anthony and Rachel that was called Rottnest Island but it wasn’t Rottnest. It wasn’t a place that we’ve actually been to either. The other dream that I awoke from simultaneously (or so it seemed) represented something that’s actually happened. It was when Tonya and I drove off the highway between Rome and Florence into a little hillside town and took photos next to a sign that said “Sexy Disco,” that was randomly placed on the side of the road. The backdrop was a series of undulating green hills, made even more green after T photo-shopped the photos! I can’t explain either of these things and I’m pretty sure a dream book wouldn’t help either but they were both really pleasant thoughts to wake up from.

Not much else to report today. No HiFU because the doctor was having a day off, so just drops, KLT and ‘antibiotics,’ (I think the drug is actually an anti-inflammatory rather than an anti-biotic). But when I got out of the hospital bed to get ready to head home I wasn’t feeling great. Even without HiFU or SPDT I am feeling exceptionally swollen and tender in the flank. It’s scary every time that happens because it just makes me think that the treatment isn’t working and that the tumours are getting worse. I managed to waddle home and put myself to bed for a couple of hours to relax and warm up. The feeling has improved slightly as the night has worn on, so at least that’s something.


Day 37: Day off (Sunday 4 December)

I can say one good thing about our hotel room; it has the most amazing block-out blinds that I have ever come across.  I couldn’t believe it when I checked the time after I woke up and it was eleven o’clock. Awesome.

I basically did nothing all day. I found one English-speaking Chinese news channel and watched some news and had an average morning coffee. The couch and I were inseparable for most of the day. Mum was already out and at ‘em when I got up but she came back from her travels with a new pillow for me so that was a bonus (the ones at the hotel are flat as tacks).

I continued to rest in the afternoon and spent some time on Skype. Thanks for the chat Nic, Jess and Zac! Shame about the poor connection.

My latest blood test revealed an elevated white cell count so I thought that was worth getting to the bottom of. Turns out it’s not all bad. The three relevant causes of raised white cell count are a) cancer, ok, nothing new there, b) infection – I have no other symptoms so that’s unlikely, and c) tissue necrosis – fingers crossed that one’s a winner!

I started my short course of gallbladder herbs today (Dan Shi Li Tong Pian). I haven’t seen those gallbladder doctors for days so methinks they’re not coming back after I poo-pooed the idea of surgery at this stage (read: if I have to have surgery I would rather have it in Perth).

I have been waiting weeks for several packages that people have sent to me and one showed up today. Well, not one sent through Aussie Post, but something I bought from StrawberryNet online. At least that confirms that the address I’ve been using is correct and that things can arrive here, but it’s a shame my vegemite, t-shirt, ski vest, book from Karen and a bunch of other stuff still haven’t shown up yet. Hopefully the packs arrive before we go home.

So far we’ve shown Mum one of the delights on Restaurant Street as well as the hotel buffet (which, btw, comprises 50% of the same dishes as the breakfast buffet). Since Mum and Brad are hanging out for some black tea bags we decided to go and eat near Walmart so they could also stock up on their tea without having to make an extra stop in the cold. So, we ventured to the trusty food hall to sample the wares available for dinner and were not disappointed.

Back at the hotel it was time for me to keep my promise to Scooter and finally watch Food Matters. It didn’t disappoint. What we already suspected about super foods, raw food, pharmaceutical companies and cancer treatments was confirmed. It was a good reminder and wake up call. It just made me want to get home even quicker so that I can control my food intake properly and cook for myself. Of course, there were parts of the doco that upset me too. Maybe it’s too late for me. Maybe I can’t get my immune system to ever work again and maybe I will be one of those “cancer survival statistics,” ie you’re classified as a survivor if you live for five years after initial diagnosis, regardless if you die one day later. I’m not dwelling on that – I’m just saying.

I’m not exactly the healthiest eater in the world but I do tend to buy whole foods (sometimes organic), not packaged, and cook most things from scratch. Sure, I can’t help cracking open a packet of Cheezels every now and again, but by and large I eat and serve good, wholesome food. I eat too much of it, but that’s another story. It really upsets me when doctors prescribe drugs as the default position instead of investigating food options to help heal people. Me and so many of my friends have repaired or improved various conditions of our own volition like psoriasis and other rashes, migraines, stomach pains, bloating, bowel dysfunction, depression and other things by removing various foods like dairy, gluten or sugar for a period of time to rebalance the system. It works, it costs no more (since you are not paying for drugs) and it does no harm. Noone ever died or got cancer from not having any sugar or milk in their diet. I just wish that all doctors were as awesome as my GP in Sydney who takes an holistic view about these things and recommends nutritional solutions to help heal people. Dr Jen is the best. I also have it on good authority from my friend Alice that Dr Clive in Perth is pretty good too, but I haven’t been to him yet.

The other day I asked for help to come up with some ideas for me to do something nice for Brad who has really been a trooper these past few weeks. Thank you to Maryann, Felicity, Belinda and Jessica for your excellent suggestions. You girls are the best. Didn’t get any suggestions from the boys though…. Hmph.